POLICE yesterday barricaded Bronte Hotel where MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa was pencilled to address a Press conference before they were eventually called off in a development that proved beyond any reasonable doubt that all was not well in Rome.
We believe chasing away journalists from the venue of the press conference was uncalled for and unwarranted. It only serves to confirm that we could still be far off from having a free press, which is a pillar in any democratic society that upholds freedom of expression as a basic human right.
It is quite unfortunate that the presser could only proceed after the intervention of acting Information minister Simon Khaya Moyo. It is rather ironic that the police who sought to forcefully evacuate journalists who had come for the press conference claimed that they were following orders from their superiors.
What is of particular interest is: Who ordered the police to cordon off the venue of the Press conference given that eventually, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, took to Twitter to express concern over what he referred to as a violation of the freedom of speech and assembly, which he said his government sought to promote?
This can only point to the fact that there could be opposing interests in government, with conflicting orders coming from different quarters. Such a situation can only breed confusion and mayhem and given that there is still a lot of contention around the credibility of the July 30 polls, we are still a long way from stability.
It is also quite curious that Mnangagwa would use social media to respond to such a grave matter when other avenues such as television and radio could have been more ideal given their capacity to reach a much wider and aggregated audience than Twitter.
Allowing people to speak their mind regarding any subject is the hallmark of democracy. Doing otherwise would only be an indicator that the culture of impunity that former President Robert Mugabe had entrenched is still alive and well — and it probably still is. Mnangagwa and his team still need to do more to convince the nation that, indeed, they have turned a page.
But the confusion that is obtaining now does not augur well for the future. The fact that instruction appears like it is being given haphazardly from different quarters does not speak to a country that is stable. Stakeholders have no choice, but to come together and agree on the way forward for the sake of progress and the future of this country.
We have no doubt that some top players in the presidency are working at cross-purpose and soon rather than later citizens may work up to some unpleasant news.
Please spare us the civil strife that’s brewing, we simply need economic recovery.